Breaking: Scottish government bans fracking – statement

Scottish fracking ban

In the past half hour, the Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, announced to the Scottish Parliament:

“Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland”.

To applause in the chamber, Mr Wheelhouse said:

“The conclusion of the Scottish Government is that we will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.,

“We have today written to local authorities across Scotland to make clear that the directions that gave effect to the moratorium [introduced in January 1015] remain in place indefinitely.

“We will use planning powers to ensure that any unconventional oil and gas application are considered in line with our position of not supporting unconventional oil and gas.”

He said the action was:

“Sufficient to ban the extraction of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.”

It was a decision, he said, taken in the best interests of the people of the country as a whole.

“We have a moral responsibility to tackle climate change and an economic responsibility to prepare Scotland for new low carbon opportunities.”

“No social licence”

Mr Wheelhouse said:

“In those communities that would be most affected there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time.

“And the research we have conducted does not provide a strong enough basis from which to adequately address those communities’ concerns.”

Mr Wheelhouse said 60,535 people had responded to the Scottish Government consultation. More than 99% of them had opposed fracking.

More than 52,000 responses were campaign responses or petitions and more than 8,000 were substantive replies.

Of the substantive responses which also provided a postcode, more than two-thirds were from the 13 Scottish local authority areas with significant shale oil and gas reserves.

Mr Wheelhouse said his decision was based on the responses to the consultation and research findings and advice.

He said he was concerned about the insufficient evidence on health impacts and he drew attention to the conclusion from KPMG that under its central scenario that unconventional oil and gas could represent 0.1% of the Scottish GDP.

Mr Wheelhouse also said the Committee on Climate Change had concluded that unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland would make meeting existing climate change targets more challenging. Emissions would have to be offset from other areas of the Scottish economy, he said.

The industry would be concentrated in former coalfield and oil shale areas, which were some of the most densely populated areas of Scotland, he said.

“Communities across Scotland, particularly in areas where developments could take place, have yet to be convinced that there is a strong enough case of national economic importance when balanced against the risk of disruption they anticipate on matters such as transport, risk of pollution and impacts on our general health and wellbeing”.

“Decision not taken lightly”

The decision was the result of a careful and comprehensive evidence gathering, he said.

“We have not taken the process or the decision lightly.”

He said the Scottish Government continued to support chemical manufacturing, a major user of oil and gas, and the country’s other industries.

The decision is to be included in the Scottish Government’s energy strategy, to be published in December.

The parliament is expected to vote on the ban shortly after the Scottish Parliament recess coming up.

Transcript of the statement

Reaction from the Scottish parliament

Reaction from industry

Reaction from environmental organisations and English campaigners


13 replies »

  1. Congratulations Scotland Parliament and the Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, we are sure it will not end there, but a precedent has been set, and that is what really matters.
    Congratulations all round.

  2. Congratulations on poking your heads further into the sand. Luckily you can rely on energy interconnects with a nation that is far more practical and is exploring for onshore gas. You can also continue to frack offshore, as you have done safely for years. Last, you can continue to import fracked gas to try and keep your industry somewhat competitive. Ignoring science has become a national effort in Scotland, so congratulations!

    • Oh Peeny – don’t sulk old thing. I doubt they’ll be able to rely on fracked gas from England as when Labour get in (and after the divided shambles unfolding in Manchester this week who would bet against that?) it won’t be happening here either.

      Pip! Pip!

      • If it makes you feel better to think that way, Refracktion. You might just want to step back and recall for a moment that a year ago no one would have bet on Labour. I don’t think a Scottish decision has nearly the impact you hope that it does. i also don’t know many people who expected anything but this decision from Scottland. Time will tell.

        • This side of the Atlantic we spell it “Scotland” Peeny.

          Over on Hot Copper I see that there is a shred of sanity after the predictable rant of that Bohara14 guy (whoever he is 😂)

          TGN01 points out that “If anyone reads the Scottish minister statement one can see they are all asking where is the evidence that show this industry is viable and the economic potentials before I take on the risks you are presenting to my community and before you ask me to compromise on my other options in energy strategies.”

          He’s not stupid that one is he?

    • Quote: ‘Congratulations on poking your heads further into the sand.’.
      Tell me Refricktion, how long does the O&G industry estimate it will take to get the fracking industry up to full commercial production? Then tell me how long it will take before the CO2 in our atmosphere passes the point of no return so it will not be possible to reverse the effects of anthropogenic climate change (based on the current increase and rate of change in PPM, which will not reduce if we introduce a new source of hydrocarbons). Given the raft of record breaking weather event in recent years and months, which are wholly consistent with, and caused by rapidly warming atmosphere and ocean temperatures, what do you expect the new record wind speeds, storm intensities, rainfall, sea level rises and droughts will be by that time. I trust you can do that without removing your head from that deep in the sand?

  3. Fantastic news – congratulations to Scotland for standing up to the oil and gas industry and protecting its citizens. And for all the pro-frackers out there, note that this decision was taken after a thorough review of the current evidence, so please let’s have no more ‘there is no evidence anywhere that fracking is bad’ nonsense. If only the UK government would stop relying on heavily-selective five-year-old reports and review the mountain of current evidence, as Scotland have done, then they may well come to the same conclusion.
    Now England is surrounded by countries that either have a permanent ban (Ireland, Scotland, France) or moratoria (Wales, Northern Ireland). And with only 16% of the British public supporting fracking (according to the latest Government WAVE survey), and over 99% of respondents to the KM8 application in Ryedale opposed it, there is clearly no social licence for fracking in the UK either. I can hear the sound of investors phoning their brokers to divest from this unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary industry as I type …

  4. What a pleasure to see a government that has looked at the evidence, taken the view and the wellbeing of citizens into account and made the right decision. Unlike the government in England that has ploughed ahead with fracking and ridden roughshod over planning and local democracy. Only to announce now that a further research programme will begin to study, amongst other things, social impacts! I hope this industry will be banned in England as well. The ever tightening climate change commitments, economics, public opinion or change of governmen will hopefully see the end of fracking. The English deserve better. And incidentally, at the Conservative Party conference , they announced yesterday that their own research showed that voters aged 18 to 24 list climate change as their number one priority in terms of voting and the 25 to 40 year olds also include climate change in their top three concerns. So if the Conservatives hope to encourage young people to vote for them, which they have declared is their intention, they will need to do far more to combat climate change and ditch fracking.

  5. wonderful news; a blessing to all involved…great to see these countries lead the way and may the US come to their senses and ban this awful energy and move on to invest and support renewables that will not pollute or harm us…

  6. Let us hope that all that oppose fracking in Scotland do not need/use Gas-Electric-Heating-Cars-Transport etc in the future! Hypocrites!

    • Malcolm – you’d better stick to your horse racing betting I think – many people oppose fracking specifically not gas generally. Is that a bit hard to grasp for you? BTW I wouldn’t go placing any bets on fracking in England now either.

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